‘Every Detail Perfect’: Collaboration and Performance in the Films of G. A. Smith and Company

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In the wake of Georges Sadoul’s 1945 definition of the ‘Brighton School’, the fiction films produced by George Albert Smith between 1897 and 1903 were long discussed primarily in terms of their editing technique. Even with teleological readings of film history now largely discarded in specialist literature, much remains to be done on the striking extent to which Smith’s films rely on the interplay of nuanced performances and filmic devices to build detail-rich, self-contained narratives in an essentially collaborative fashion. Founded on early accounts of film screenings, evidences of modern viewers’ encounters with early film, and André Gaudreault’s historiographical model of kine-attractography, this paper contrasts two Smith films (The Kiss in the Tunnel, 1899, and Let Me Dream Again, 1900) with related films by others (The Kiss in the Tunnel, Bamforth, 1898?, and Rêve et Réalité, Pathé, 1901) to outline a performance-oriented, detail-focussed method of analysis and comparison. Particular attention is paid to the contributions, in front of and behind the camera, of Smith’s actor-filmmaker collaborators Tom Green and especially Laura Bayley.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2019
EventBritish Silent Film Festival Symposium - King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Apr 201913 Apr 2019


ConferenceBritish Silent Film Festival Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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